Monday, February 21, 2011

Ohio Icewines

More and more wineries in Ohio are producing icewines in response to increased demand from customers. The sweet, dessert wine originated in Austria and Germany before wineries in Ontario, Canada, also began production. Wineries in the Buckeye State began adding their own icewines to the market just a few years ago.

Icewine can only be produced naturally in cold climate areas. The grapes are left on the vines to freeze. They are usually harvested by hand in mid-December when the temperature drops to about 15 degrees. The grapes are pressed quickly after being harvested, which results in a juice high in sugar density being crushed from the grape because any water inside remains frozen. The process results in a very sweet wine that is its trademark. Because the production process is fraught with challenges, crop yields are generally low.

That’s why icewines cost more than many other wines, usually about $35 per 375 ml. bottle. It comes in a number of flavors from apricot to apple to pear. Icewine should be served cold and is best enjoyed in small amounts as an after-dinner drink. The luxuriously sweet taste has increased the popularity of icewines with consumers, resulting in more respect for ice wines and a new product line for several Ohio wineries.

Look for icewines from Chalet Debonne in Madison, Ferrante Winery in Geneva, and Laurello Vineyards in Geneva, just to name a few.

(photo © Rivard/cc license)